Image Credit: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8,’ World Of Wonder / MTV

This clown got her crown!

Ever since she shrieked from a mountaintop in the premiere of Canada’s Drag Race, we knew Jimbo was headed for great things—both within the wider world of Drag Race and beyond.

Now, just over three years later, she emerges from All Stars 8 victorious, having won us all over with her off-kilter sense of humor, her high fashion/high camp drag, her unforgettable Shirley Temple dance moves, and more than a few slices of baloney.

Yes, Jimbo is truly one of the most singular queens to ever grace the main stage, one with an uncanny ability to always know what’ll make RuPaul—and her audience—laugh. But her crowning is the result of years of hard work, dating all the way back to the clowning classes that helped her find the joy within herself and how to share it with the world.

After an eventful weekend, Queerty caught up with latest inductee into the Drag Race Hall Of Fame to find out all about the clown school lessons that helped her snatch the crown. Plus, Jimbo reveals which mega-famous pop icon texted her after her win, shares the Snatch Game character that almost was, and reflects on her former job designing costumes for dogs. (But who’s easier to work with—dogs or drag queens? You’ll never guess!)

Congratulations, Jimbo! We’re so excited to see a crown on your head. How did you celebrate this weekend? Have you spent any of that prize money yet?

I celebrated in New York; we had a party with Susanne Bartsche and Kandy and my family and my friends flew in. We had a show and a viewing and the crowning and it was a big party with the show, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

And I imagine you spent all that prize money already, right?

In my mind, yeah. I’m planning all the different things I want to do. I want to take my family on a trip and I want to go to gold-plate my Tic-Tac, and I want to buy an island.

Oh, right! So you did get that Tic-Tac after all?

Yes, I got my Tic-Tac—they delivered it to me in a beautiful little satin bag. And so it’s one of my prized possessions—that and my text I got from Madonna.

Well you deserve it all. You know, it was just over three years ago that you came into Canada’s Drag Race with such a well-honed drag persona and grasp of your talent. But, even still, it feels like we’ve seen such growth from you as a person and a performer. What’s something you’d say you learned about yourself throughout the course of All Stars 8?

I would say I really learned to just believe in myself. Every day, Kandy was always laughing at me because I was saying, like,”Am I gonna do this? Can I do this?” Maybe that’s part of the magic, but I always go into this big question about how that’s going to go, but that’s all part of the excitement. So I guess I just learned to keep trusting my gut and keep following my inner-voice. That and the support of the fans really shows me that, whatever it is I’m doing, just keep doing that.

That reminds me of what you said to Kahanna when she was having doubts ahead of the “Forensic Queens” improv challenge. You were like, ” find what you brings joy and then lean into that and share that joy with the world.” That’s such great advice—where did you pick up that lesson?

That came through my crown training, where clowning is all about sharing your feelings or sharing your experience and as a performer and as a clown. Like, joy is something that I choose in this world, and it’s something that I really tried to share.

My clown teacher, Britt Small from Victoria, is actually who taught me about being a conduit for joy for your audience, where you kind of go with your worst idea and you’re really listening to the audience and you just give yourself.

You’ve always been so hilarious, but you really do manage to keep stepping up your fashion game with each season. Is there a look you’re most proud of from this season, looking back?

Definitely my promo look—that pink poodle look by Diego Montoya. I feel so rich and gorgeous, and also so weird and high fashion. It was the sort of perfect combination of all these aspects of my personality and my drag that I really get to show. It was received so well and so many people love it, and someone said to me the thing that they loved about it most was, no matter what kind of drag you’re into, you probably would love to just at least try it on. And one thing that I love about I love my drag is I always think, at the end of the day, I want people to want to wear it! I want people to want to go, “Oh! I would love to know what it would feel like to be in that.”

One that especially had that effect on me was your Adam and Eve look for the RuVeal Yourself runway, because, one, it was such great drag, but, two, I couldn’t even wrap my head around it—it was that jaw-dropping. How did you and designer Joshuan Aponte figure that look out?

Oh my god, well, that basically is inspired by these shoes that spies used to wear that has sold on opposite—so when you walk in one direction, it leaves a footprint like you’re walking in another direction.

I knew I wanted to come out on stage backwards, and I wanted to try and trick the audience by walking backwards and then turn around. So I kind of gave him that notion, and Joshuan came back with this idea of Adam and Eve and the apple with the snake, and I just loved it.

The first time I ever tried it on was right there on the main stage. That’s another part of clowning that I love; it’s all about immediacy and sharing the excitement of discovery. So I tried to keep that freshness of myself discovering and being surprised at the same time. That was the first time I ever had that look on or even tried walking in—it was that moment on the runway.

Oh my god, I can’t even imagine. I would’ve at least wanted to practice my backwards walk.

I know, it I was wild. I hadn’t even really seen what it looked like—I had to wait for the show come out to see how it even looked. I’m just so glad it worked out.

Of course, that was the same episode as Snatch Game with your unforgettable take on Shirley Temple. You said you’d never performed as her before, so when and how did you realize she might be a good character for you to play?

I don’t even really know, I just knew that I wanted to be a precocious little rascal. And I knew, going into the Snatch Game, that I wanted a character that has some physicality to it. So that, when I couldn’t think of something to say, I could at least be funny [that way.]

You know, sometimes if you can’t think in the moment, you can be physical and be in your body. And so the choice to be Shirley was—I just like how kids kind of move through all these different motions. They don’t really stick anywhere. Kids can be laughing, and then they’re crying. So I really wanted to show that in my performance and kind of go through all the emotions and make all those weird faces.

And it all just happened, again, like right there. I hadn’t done Shirley before. I had worked with my clowning coach a little bit on Shirley and it wasn’t actually working. Originally, I was gonna be Shirley and then turn into Danny DeVito. But then I thought, you know, that could get really confusing. So it all just came together by magic in that moment.

Shifting gears, I’ve been dying to ask you about this: Outside of drag, your career has included costuming work in theater, film, and television including the 2018 Air Bud Entertainment movie Pup Star: World Tour and the series Pup Academy. So… were you actually costuming dogs for those projects?

I did! I did dogs and little people, and it was so much fun.

For the dogs, I would go to this mansion—and it was a dog mansion! They would fly these actor dogs in and then we would have these fittings. And, when he would pull up to this house, each dog had their own room to keep them separate, but they would all run to the window and you’d just see all these different breeds in each of the windows of this house. It was so crazy!

We’d have fittings and then you’d have to be professional—they’d bring in a dog, and the dog would have to be professional, too. And we would be taking measurements, trying on outfits—but, every now and again, we would break and the dog would just be a dog. Like, “Oh my god, he’s so cute!” And you’d scratch them and they’d roll around, and then it’d be like, “Okay, okay, okay—time to be professional!” And that was so hard!

It was so cute making these little cheerleader outfits. I worked with a designer, Ken Shopkin, and we made all these really, really cool little suits, and all these ties, and outfits and dresses. It was so, so much fun.

So, was there anything you learned from that process—from that work—that you were then able to apply to your drag? Even just in terms of making costumes?

Well, are you trying to say, “making costumes for b*tches?” I guess, yeah, if you can make a dress for a b*tch, you can make a dress for a queen! [Laughs.] But I guess just take measurements—that’s what I learned.

As a final note, your win—and All Stars 8 in general—represents such a huge shift in Drag Raceand what has become this global franchise. I mean, we even got to see your UK Vs. The World frenemy Pangina Heals and fellow Canadian winner Priyanka show up as Lip Sync Assassins. So, is there another Canadian queen you think deserves a shot at All Stars?

Oh, for sure. Canada so many cool queens—so many people with so many amazing perspectives. I would love to see my sister Tynomi Banks return—I feel like she didn’t get her best showing on her first time out.

And Pythia is really cool; I love her drag—she’s an amazing queen, I thought she was so rad. And my sister Vivian Vanderpuss, also from Victoria, B.C. Her drag is so quirky and she’s such a sweetheart.

And we’ll have to wrap it there, but I truly just got word that you have a World Of Wonder series on the way—Jimbo Presents: My Special Show—so congrats on that!!

Yeah, thank you! Check it out! I have all kinds of celebrity guests, and we play games and I do some of my characters. It’s really, really fun.

Thank you, Jimbo!

Thank you!

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